Germany’s Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) rode to his first win on the Tour de France with a breakaway victory in Stage 12: Saint Paul Trois Chateaux > Nimes.

Tour de France Le Stage 12 Nimes Nils Politt
Nils Politt from Bora-Hansgrohe thrust his arms in the air after a solo finish in Tour de France Stage 12 at Nimes. (Image: Reuters)

Despite heavy crosswinds and tailwinds, Politt held off Harrison Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) and Imanol Erviti (Movistar), crossing the finish line first at Nimes more than 30 seconds ahead. There were indications this could be a bunch sprint finish, but Politt — and the breakaway within the breakaway — ruined those chances.

2021 Tour de France – Stage 12 Results
  1. Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:22:12
  2. Imanol Erviti (Movistar) +00:31
  3. Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal)

There was no change in the overall general classification standings as the peloton arrived nearly 16 minutes behind Politt. Defending champion Tadej Poagcar continues to wear the yellow jersey. He’s built up a five-plus minute lead over a quartet of riders, and with just nine stages remaining, time is running out for someone to challenge him for the maillot jaune.

Stage 12: Saint Paul Trois Chateaux > Nimes

After surviving an insane and punishing double ascent of Mont Ventoux, the peloton had a much more relaxed ride in Stage 12 with a 159.4km route from Saint Paul Trois Chateaux to Nimes.

Julian Alaphilippe led the breakaway that contained a baker’s dozen of riders and opened up a 12-minute gap on the peloton. With 12 km to the finish line, a trio of riders pulled away from the breakaway group, including Politt, Sweeny, and Erviti. With 10 km to go, Politt pulled away from Sweeny and Erviti, and neither of them gave chase.

“There were quite a lot of sprinters in the group, so I knew that I had to do the race hard, and that I had to attack, and attack quite early,” said Politt. “Today the stage was quite nervous and even from the first five kilometers, in the wind, we had echelons. After the Mont Ventoux stage, everybody was happy with the breakaway and it was clear that the break would go to the finish.”

Bora-Hansgrohe secured their first stage win of the tour and prevented both Movistar and Lotto Soudal from stepping on the podium for the first time.

Politt, who has posted multiple top-five finishes at major races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, finally broke through to the winner’s circle for the first time in the Grand Tours. “It’s my fifth time in the Tour and it’s the biggest dream I could ever have,” he said.

On Deck Stage 13: Nimes > Carcassonne

On Thursday, the peloton has another flat — but somewhat long — stage of 219.9 km; the second-longest route on the schedule this year. Stage 13 starts in Nimes and ends with a sprint finish in Carcassonne. This is the last flat stage before the peloton heads into the Pyrenees.

Mark Cavendish had a rough climb at Mont Ventoux in Stage 11, so he wasn’t in contention for the breakaway stage win at Nimes. Even so, keep an eye on him in Stage 13 where he’ll attempt to tie Eddy Merckx for the most stage wins in Le Tour history.

Le Tour – Overall GC Standings
  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 47:22:43
  2. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +5:18
  3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32
  4. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +5:33
  5. Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen Team) +5:58

With Pogacar leading by 5:18 over Rigoberto Uran in the GC standings, the other riders in the top five are jockeying for the runner-up spot on the podium in Paris. Only 40 seconds separates second and fifth place, with Jonas Vingegaard, Richard Carapaz, and Ben O’Connor all chasing Uran for second place overall.

Pogacar’s odds haven’t changed; he’s -1667 odds favorite to win another yellow jersey. There’s also a new “Yes/No” prop bet at DraftKings that pays out +600 odds if Pogacar doesn’t win the Tour de France.

Check out more coverage of the 2021 Tour de France.